When Good Metaphors Go Bad: The Metaphoric "Branding" of Cyberspace

Current cybersecurity discussions rely heavily on imaginative metaphors, models, and related rhetorical devices which initially provide insight into the challenges we face in cyberspace, but too often end up as empty labels or catch phrases used by different people to mean different things.  When metaphors begin to function in this way, they can become an impediment to meaningful discussion rather than a vehicle for creative thought.  This paper looks at how some of the most common cyber metaphors currently shape our discourse, considering the extent to which they do or don’t contribute to a clearer vision of our way ahead, and why.

Adriane Lapointe